Micky Mouse was born Mortimer Mouse and remained so until Walt Disney’s wife, Lillian, talked Walt into changing the name.
Mortimer, or Mickey, however, wasn’t Walt’s first cartoon character.
That honor belongs to Oswald the Rabbit, contractually owned by Universal Studios.
When Oswald became popular, Disney, who did not share in the profits from his creation, was displeased. He left with these words for his distributor: “Here, you can have the little bastard! He’s all yours.”
From the ashes of a bunny named Oswald rose Mickey and the Disney empire.
Mortimer Mouse wasn’t dead forever, as it turned out.
In later episodes of Mickey Mouse comics and cartoons, a mouse with an elongated, sinister face named Mortimer appeared as a brutish rival of Mickey’s out to win Minnie’s love.